Nov. 1, 2016
CHARLOTTESVILLE, Va. – The Virginia softball team will play a 54-game schedule, including contests against six teams that advanced to the NCAA Tournament a year ago, head coach Joanna Hardin announced on Tuesday (Nov. 1).
Five of those matchups against NCAA Tournament participants will come on the road, while the Cavaliers will also welcome Women’s College World Series participant Florida State for a three-game series in late March.
Virginia will play 21 home games at The Park. Admission to all home contests is free.
“The 2017 schedule is balanced and will be competitive for us,” Hardin said. “It’s nice to go to the west coast to open up, first because of the weather, but also because we have a lot of fan support being that many of our players are from California and Arizona.
“Obviously, we want to build up to the ACC Tournament and challenge ourselves every weekend so we peak at the right time. That’s our plan – to use every game as a way to grow and get better so we execute in May.”
The Cavaliers will open the season with the first of three tournaments, traveling to compete at the Kajikawa Classic (Feb. 9-11). Opponents for the Kajikawa Classic have yet to be announced, but the Cavaliers will play five games in the event.
Virginia will then travel to the Charleston Southern Tournament (Feb. 17-18) where the Cavaliers will play Charleston Southern, UNC-Wilmington and two games against East Tennessee State.
The third weekend tournament is the Pirate Invitational hosted by East Carolina (Feb. 24-26). UVA will play East Carolina and two games each against Seton Hall and Hofstra in the three-day event.
In non-conference action, Virginia will host a doubleheader with Elon (Feb. 19) and Towson (March 12), and single games with Liberty (April 12), Georgetown (April 18) and George Washington (April 26). The Cavaliers will travel for non-conference matchups at Radford (March 7), James Madison (March 15), Longwood (March 28), George Mason (April 5) and Liberty (April 11).
In ACC play, the Cavaliers will host Virginia Tech (March 3-5), Boston College (March 10-12), Florida State (March 24-26) and Georgia Tech (April 14-16). Virginia will travel for series at NC State (March 17-19), North Carolina (March 31 – April 2), Notre Dame (April 22-23) and Louisville (April 28-30).
The ACC Tournament will be hosted by North Carolina (May 11-13) and NCAA Tournament play begins May 19 with NCAA Regional competition on campus sites.
Seven of the top hitters from last season also return for the Cavaliers after accounting for 36 of the squad’s 48 home runs and 153 of 197 RBI. Those seven players also accounted for 135 of 218 runs scored. Among those players is the team’s RBI leader in catcher Katie Park (Scottsdale, Ariz.), the leader in runs scored and steals, Iyana Hughes (Manteca, Calif.) and the three top power hitters in Ingraham, Park and Madison Labshere (El Cajon, Calif.).